So the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors series is still getting weirder by the game.
It started with Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown. Earlier in the day, it was announced that he is the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Then, hours before tip-off, it was announced that he would also be the head coach for Game 4 because Steve Kerr tested positive for COVID-19. That must be some record for most head coaching jobs in a day.
Then there was the shooting (or lack thereof). After the hot shooting of the Warriors in Game 3, they started Game 4 with ice in their veins—in the worst possible way. The Warriors went 0-for-15 from 3, hurting the rim in all ways possible. They won’t hit from long range until less than four minutes left in the first half.
Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, who at times looked like human fireballs in this series, were frozen, missing a combined 10 3s for the entire game.
The Grizzlies had their own share of shooting woes. Dillon Brooks, in particular, shot 5-of-19 from the field. As a team, Memphis was 9-of-35 from the outside, not much better than the Warriors’ 9-of-37. Dub Nation? It was more like Brick City.
It’s easy to point to the lack of Ja Morant, who’s nursing a knee injury, in trying to make sense of the ugly game. But just like a chunk of the regular season, the Grizzlies were able to handle their business even without Morant. They led the entire game and were poised to snatch a series-tying win.
This isn’t the regular season, however. And as Draymond Green eloquently put it: “This isn’t the Minnesota Timberwolves.”
At the 45-second mark, Steph Curry took control of the game, in a manner that a playoff-savvy team like the Warriors can. He sank two free throws to give the Warriors their first lead of the game, then hit six more to give his team the three-point victory. Curry himself wasn’t impressive shooting-wise, only making four of his 14 3-point attempts. His steady hand at the free throw line was enough to take the Warriors one win away from the Western Conference Finals.
For the Grizzlies, Tyus Jones stepped up with 19 points in Morant’s absence, but they would need more than that to beat the Warriors three straight times. They’d also have to do it without Morant the rest of the way, as his knee injury might cause him to miss the remainder of the playoffs. That’s damn near impossible, but as this series has already proven, weird things could happen.